How Much Should Xbox Project Scorpio Cost? - GameSpot Q&A

Below you can find our thoughts on how much Project Scorpio should cost.

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This week's question is:

How Much Should Xbox Project Scorpio Cost?

Microsoft recently announced more details about its upcoming Project Scorpio Xbox One hardware. The console's specs are beyond what we've seen in the current console generation, but with such power, the current big question is its price point. Our editors voice their thoughts towards the issue in the answers below.

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Jimmy Thang, Technology Editor | $500

If I had to guess, I’d wager that Project Scorpio will debut at $499. I think the PS3 showed that users are resistant to spending $599 for a console (despite the fact that it was actually kind of a steal, being one of the most affordable Blu-ray players at the time). I think Microsoft recognizes that and won’t go above $500 as a result.

Having said that, on paper, the console is poised to be noticeably more powerful than the PS4 Pro, which currently costs $399. I would be very surprised if Microsoft came out at roughly the same price, considering Scorpio's beefier specs. So, I’m going with $499. Think that’s too expensive? Well, I’m willing to bet that Microsoft would say, “That’s what the Xbox One S is for.” It helps that Project Scorpio is backwards compatible with the S, even down to the peripherals.

Peter Brown, Senior Reviews Editor | $400

Considering Scorpio's spec advantage relative to PlayStation 4 Pro, it stands to reason that Microsoft will release the system at a higher cost than Sony's current top dog. $500 might be the sweet spot, but that creates a perception problem given that Xbox One S retails for $250. The working theory is that both Xbox One S and Scorpio will run the same games, meaning Scorpio will only have a performance advantage, albeit a considerable one. Still, in the eyes of consumers, paying twice as much to play the same games with better visuals will be a tough pill to swallow; performance helps, but it isn't the whole story.

If Scorpio sells for $400--where Microsoft (likely) sells the system at a loss--people might forgive the current lack of enticing Xbox exclusives due to the perceived value of the hardware compared to PS4 Pro. Microsoft wouldn't be the first manufacturer to subsidize the cost of a new console, and doing so with Scorpio may be the only way it can revive Xbox's competitive edge in light of the current lukewarm game forecast.

Scott Butterworth, Editor | $450

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I know consoles are generally priced in nice, round $100 increments, but I think $450 might be the best way for Microsoft to balance the points already raised by Jimmy and Peter. Scorpio is far beefier than the $400 PS4 Pro, which would make it easy for Microsoft to justify charging a slighter higher price (and even at $450, Scorpio would be a steal relative to what that amount buys in PC components).

But it's also important to remember that, despite its impressive specs, Scorpio does not mark the beginning of a new console generation. It will likely play the exact same games as the $250 Xbox One S. That means consumers are ultimately paying extra for a performance boost, and I'm pretty confident most people aren't willing to pay fully double the price of an S just see their games run in higher resolutions and framerates, especially since many gamers don't even own 4K-capable TVs yet. So my guess is Microsoft will launch several Scorpio bundles at $450: a console plus one or two free games (most likely Forza, given the demo during Scorpio's recent unveiling).

Justin Haywald, Managing Editor | $500

We don't think about the cost that often, but your phone probably costs a lot of money. A current top-of-the-line iPhone 7 Plus starts at $770. A Samsung Galaxy S8? $850. And it's that early-adopter, technologically savvy consumer that I think Microsoft will be courting.

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$500 for Project Scorpio seems pricey, but it puts it within striking distance of its competition in the PS4 Pro, while firmly establishing Scorpio as a machine with better specs and more capability. People who will benefit the most from a Scorpio are those who own a 4K TV, and while the price of that technology is rapidly dropping, that just means that Scorpio can start out at a premium and drop in price early in 2018.

The more interesting question will be how (and if) Microsoft handles virtual reality. Part of the reason for a system like Scorpio has to be in preparation of an increased emphasis on VR, but what would an Xbox hardware bundle look like? Sony's PlayStation VR is still hard to find in stores, and the launch bundle for that system (even without a console) was $500. I'd expect, sometime in 2018, Microsoft will offer up an all-in-one VR console package in the $800 range--and Project Scorpio will be at its core.

Eddie Makuch, News Editor | $500

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For a long time now, Microsoft has referred to Project Scorpio as a "premium" device. It will of course be more expensive than Xbox One S, and my estimation is that it will go for $500. That price point steers clear of $599, which does not have good memories attached to it. Given the guts of the console, anything under $500 seems an unlikely scenario. At the same time, Microsoft has been clear in its messaging for Scorpio that this is a console aimed at players who want a higher-end experience--and will presumably pay for it. Doubling down on this, Phil Spencer has said Scorpio is not expected to sell anywhere near as well as Xbox One S. With the reveal of Scorpio's specs now out of the way, it will be intriguing to see where Scorpio comes in for price. Expect all to become clear at E3, if not sooner.

Michael Higham, Associate Tech Editor | $500

Considering how much power is under the hood, I can't see Project Scorpio priced any lower than $499. Also, the PlayStation 4 Pro is currently $399, and who knows if there will be a holiday season price cut this year. Of course, if Microsoft is willing to sell the console at a lower price, the barrier to entry will be lower and we’ll all win. But I'm not holding my breath. Scorpio is coming with a robust cooling solution to keep that 8-core 2.3GHz CPU and 6 teraflop GPU system-on-chip (SOC) cool, not to mention it’ll come equipped with 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. This is all-powerful stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's expensive to manufacture.

I used to fake being sick to stay home from school as a kid, so I watched a lot of The Price is Right--you can bet on me.

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